Assessing descriptive substance in free-text collection-level metadata

Oksana Zavalina, Carole L. Palmer, Amy S. Jackson, Myung Ja Han

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Collection-level metadata has the potential to provide important information about the features and purpose of individual collections. This paper reports on a content analysis of collection records in an aggregation of cultural heritage collections. The findings show that the free-text Description field often provides more accurate and complete representation of subjects and object types than the specified fields. Properties such as importance, uniqueness, comprehensiveness, provenance, and creator are articulated, as well as other vital contextual information about the intentions of a collector and the value of a collection, as a whole, for scholarly users. The results demonstrate that the semantically rich free-text Description field is essential to understanding the context of collections in large aggregations and can serve as a source of data for enhancing and customizing controlled vocabularies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications
StatePublished - 2008
Event8th Annual International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications, DC-2008 - Berlin, Germany
Duration: Sep 22 2008Sep 26 2008


  • Collection-level metadata
  • Descriptive metadata
  • Dublin Core Collection Application Profile
  • Federated digital collections
  • IMLS Digital Collections and Content project

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software


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